Lyn's whole life has always been about gladiators and the GSA (Gladiator Sport Association). Her mother has married seven gladiators in Lyn's lifetime, the limit for a gladiator's wife. But when Tommy, Lyn's seventh father, dies, her dowry bracelet is also taken by the victor, a young man named Uber, and the law states that Lyn must now marry him. Lyn hates the gladiator lifestyle and doesn't want to follow in her mother's footsteps, so in order to save herself and her family from poverty, she makes a daring choice; instead of marrying Uber, she will fight with him to the death in the arena—even though she's beginning to develop feelings for him.Lise Haines' Girl in the Arena is set in an alternate world, very similar to ours, that poses the question, What if, as a result of the Vietnam War, one man made gladiators popular in America? The world Haines crafts is chilling, with violence a regular part of every day life, but yet also offers many similarities with our society now. Historical details are included as well to help form the world and tell the story of the evolution of gladiators in the US.
Lyn is sick of the gladiator culture and would like nothing better but to get away from it, but she also has resigned herself to the fact that it may be difficult to do so. She is a very realistic and resourceful teen, and her indecision and emotions are quite believable, especially with when she interacts directly with Uber. The book is very fast-paced, which occasionally makes it easy to miss some crucial details or sentences, which may make the story a little confusing at first. Those incidences aside, Girl in the Arena is a heart-pounding, suspenseful read with twists and turns you won't see coming, leaving you to wonder, How can this end? Yet Haines wraps it all up cleverly and realistically, giving the readers and characters hope for a better future while imparting a moral lesson that isn't glaringly obvious or in your face. Girl in the Arena is a very intriguing and well-written novel about violence and entertainment, how easy it is for people to latch on to it when the two are strung together, but also about the courage of one girl wanting to make a positive change in her world.
Cover Comments: I like the mix of modern elements and the classic, gladiator styles in this cover. It fits the book well, even if the girl on the cover doesn't look like Lyn at all. I think it looks a bit edgy, and I like it a lot.
Girl in the Arena will be available October 13th, 2009.